The first run from my August 2017 trip to Los Angeles.
The first day after landing in LA was a busy one. My friend earned his PHD, so there was a lot of champagne drinking and chocolate cake eating. Eventually by the early evening I decided to go on my favorite running route, down a bike / run path which leads right to the beach.
My run was a 6 mile progressive run there, took a break at the beach to go to my spot out on the rocks, and then did 7 less aggressive progressive miles back. Had to take that break to snap some pics of the setting sun:
My paces were:
Mile 1- 7:18
Mile 2- 7:01
Mile 3- 6:59
Mile 4- 6:48
Mile 5- 6:20
Mile 6- 6:11
Mile 7- 8:00
Mile 8- 7:51
Mile 9- 7:35
Mile 10- 7:24
Mile 11- 7:12
Mile 12- 7:09
Mile 13- 6:46
13.4 miles | 1:35:59 | 7:09/mi
The run felt great. It was hot all day but by the evening it started cooling down, and of course there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Running summary of the past week of training for the Marine Corps Marathon.
General Reflections: This past week started off strong but had a disappointing finish.
Monday: 10 easy miles
Tuesday: 12 (hot) miles. Some 800 and 400 track intervals
Wednesday: 8 easy miles
Thursday: 12 mile fartlek, then 3 easy miles later that evening.
Friday: 8.6 trail miles
Saturday: 21 miles, half on trails.
Sunday: 6 recovery miles
Weekly Totals: 81.4 miles. 4,587 ft elevation gain
Favorite Workout: My Thursday and Friday runs.
Thursday I had a fartlek run (strava info), rotating between 2 minutes of fast running and 2 minutes of easy running for the first part. I finished the run with 3 fast miles, with 0.5 miles of recover between each one. My times for those fast miles were 5:35, 5:45, 5:40, and I was very happy with those miles especially because I had just run 8 miles of fartlek right before them.
Friday (strava info) I ran around a state park and got lost, and it was a blast. I talked a little about in this post.
Biggest Issues: Saturday’s long run was pretty good. My knees were really sore after it but I was able to finish without issue. The problem was, that night I wound up eating a ton of junk food. I used the calories I burned from the long run to convince myself it was ok, but I went way overboard (for the day I went over 5,000 calories including a carton of ice cream…). I also was up late that night because of the Mayweather – McGregor fight, which led to more eating. But, excuses excuses. I messed up.
On Sunday I was feeling sluggish and could only manage 6 recovery miles. So my eating mistake on Saturday cost me a decent run and left me feeling lousy all Sunday. I’ll probably take it very easy today (Monday) also.
Lesson: Having cheat days and overeating occasionally is not a big deal but going overboard can potentially cost you a couple workouts. So even when giving in to temptation, be careful.
Next Week: I’ll be in Los Angeles most of next week, so I’ll hopefully get a ton of mileage in with new scenery.
Does it count as getting lost if you did it on purpose?
There’s this state forest I go to sometimes when I just want to run around in nature (edit: I recorded some video of my adventure if you want to check out the terrain). It has tons of different trails, and every time I go I try to follow one but always wind up losing it, and wind up somewhere I didn’t intend to (fortunately I always carry my phone with me and manage to find the path / somewhere familiar).
I treat these runs like an opportunity to leave my running comfort zone. There’s a whole different feeling to a run when you aren’t entirely sure where you are or where you’re going. The subtle feeling of panic that sets in adds a level of excitement. It’s a controlled panic mind you, I’m certainly not advocating for people putting themselves in dangerous situations. But going somewhere new on a run is a surefire way to spice up your running routine.
Today I got a little extra lost, but it turned out fine of course. I knew I was never in any real trouble. I got about 8.5 miles of mountain and trail running in, explored some new areas of the forest, and just wanted to share with you all as I sit here at Starbucks hydrating and recovering.
Is there anything you do to occasionally change up your routine? Ever go off down new roads or to new cities or parks to explore? Let me know!
Race report from the 2017 QuickChek NJ Balloon Festival 5k
Last month I ran in the Running with the Balloons 5k at the 2017 QuickChek Festival of Ballooning in NJ . It was an interesting venue with a unique start to say the least, and a very fun experience. This race report is a little late, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
Goal: sub 18:00 and get a new PR
So let’s talk about this race!
The race starts out in a grass field, after the hot air balloons have made their morning ascent. That was an incredible sight to take in. After the balloons were off in the distance, it was race time.
The first half mile or so was on that grass field, and the footing was a tad tricky. There were large tire tracks (maybe tractor tracks) on the ground, so I had to be extra careful with how my feet were landing. It was nice and flat at least.
After the grass section we got to a gravel road, which then led to a normal paved road. On the paved road there were a couple of hills which I was not expecting. I thought the course would be almost entirely flat since it was on an airfield, but the off-airfield sections had the hills.
For the first mile I was in a group of about 5 people, chasing the lead pack. I soon realized that if I wanted any chance to catch the leaders I’d have to make a move early, so I separated from the chase group and took off on my own.
The course was pretty uneventful until you get back to the airfield. Unfortunately the leaders were too far ahead and I was never able to catch them, but the chase group didn’t catch me either. I finished about a minute behind the leaders, but also a minute ahead of my chasers, all on my own in that awkward little not-lead pack but not-chase pack spot.
My time was 17:40, a 22 second PR! I was really pleased with that result. It earned me 6th place overall and a little age group award medal.
After the race I hung out with my friend at the festival, picking up as many freebies and snacks as possible, and we stuck around for the evening balloon ascent where I was able to get a bunch of pictures.
All in all it was a successful race. It’s not every day you get to set a personal record and attend “the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America” (according to their website).
Have you participated in any special, unique races? Let me know!
Why you should go into each run with an optimistic mindset
Ever have a run planned where you’re dreading getting out the door?
That you know is going to suck.
That your muscles will not be happy that you’re doing..
I thought my easy run yesterday was going to be rough.
The previous day (Tuesday) I put in 12 miles with some track intervals, and then at night played tennis for almost 2 hours. Oh, and it also hit 90 degrees and was humid. Needless to say, I was pretty beat up by the time I got to bed.
So I was not looking forward to my scheduled easy Wednesday run.
Finally Wednesday afternoon comes, time for the dreaded run.
I lace up the shoes and get out the door, and after a little while I start wondering where the pain I was expecting is. Where’s the stiffness? Where are the random aches all over my legs? Why are these hills so easy to climb?
I felt great. I felt fast. I finished my easy 8 miles with a quick one to close it out. As much as I wanted to keep pushing, I thought it best to still leave it as an easy day, there will be other runs to push hard, and that wasn’t the purpose of this run.
Maybe I just got a really good night of rest, maybe I hydrated perfectly, or maybe that late night mac and cheese dinner was just the antidote I needed to recover from the post-workout day aches.
I have no idea why I felt so good.
What I learned from this, and what I hope to remember in the future, is you never know when any given day can be your day to feel good and feel fast. I’ve definitely been guilty plenty of times of going into a run expecting the worst. Expecting my body to rebel.
But that defeated mindset is pointless.
Sure, you really might be sore, and the run really might be uncomfortable and painful. It’s totally possible your run will suck and you’ll have to tough it out to get through it.
You could feel amazing and rejuvenated, and have the ultimate pick-me-up; a good run.
With just about 2 months to go until my next goal race, the Marine Corps Marathon, I wanted to quickly check in with my training and talk about my progress leading up to that race.
For my previous marathon, the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon (check out my race report here), my training was lower mileage (peaking at a 71 mile week), and focused more on speed work, with lots of progressive and fartlek runs.
For the Marine Corps Marathon, my goal is to beat my LA Marathon time and finish somewhere around 2:46. To do this, I’ve decided to try focusing on elevation gain and higher mileage. My last 2 weeks of running have been my highest recorded mileage weeks ever according to Strava, at 95 and 90 miles respectively. I’ve also been averaging about 3,500 feet of elevation gain per week for the past month or so, which isn’t a ton but it’s almost triple what I was averaging in the past.
My overall average pace has been slightly slower than in the past, but I’m not worried about that. I’m hoping that speed will come with the mileage I’m putting in. I still get out to the track for a little speed work, and add some fast marathon pace miles into some of my runs, but as a whole I’m less concerned with running fast during training.
We’ll see if this strategy works out, but I have a good feeling it will. I can tell that my legs are much stronger than they’ve ever been due to the miles and elevation. My only concerns are staying healthy, and whether my legs will remember how to go fast.
What do you think is more optimal for marathon training when trying to get a fast time: more speed with fewer miles, or less speed with more miles?
Thoughts on intermittent fasting and why it can benefit runners.
Intermittent fasting (IF) has played a key factor for my running success, and without it I would likely be heavier (and slower) than I am today. I want to share the basic strategy of IF and its benefits, but as a disclaimer I am not a dietician. This will just be my personal strategy and thoughts / opinions on the topic, and why it works for me. It won’t work for everyone, but if you’re struggling with appetite control, I think it might be worth considering.
Before diving into what IF is all about, let’s get one thing straight; the RUNGER is real. Runger, or running hunger, is the increase in appetite you feel as you increase your mileage and the calories you burn. It’s a pretty simple formula; more running + more calories burned = bigger appetite. Your body has a good idea of what it needs, and as you burn more fuel it pushes you to replenish that fuel. The problem is, some people (myself included) have a hard time turning that hunger impulse off. Once I start eating, it’s hard for me to stop.
That’s where intermittent fasting comes into play. Intermittent fasting is a dieting strategy gaining in popularity that can be a beneficial option for people who have a hard time keeping their appetites in check. It takes some discipline to get into the habit, but once you do you will be able to continue to eat foods you enjoy in the portions you enjoy them, while not gaining weight.
IF involves a long period of fasting, and a short eating window. A common ratio of fasting to eating for people following this strategy is 18:6, 18 hours of fasting with a 6 hour eating window. An 18 hour fasting window may seem daunting, but it’s actually not as difficult to attain as you may think.
Let’s consider the normal daily schedule of a hypothetical person named Bob. Bob goes to bed at 10pm and wakes up at 7am. Bob doesn’t eat a couple of hours before going to bed, so he is done eating for the day by 8pm. So from 8pm – 7am Bob doesn’t eat. That’s an 11 hour fasting period, which many people probably already do. Bob also skips breakfast, electing to only have black coffee and water throughout the morning (black coffee is both great for waking you up and for suppressing appetites). By doing this he can hold out until a late lunch before eating. So if Bob eats his first meal at 2pm, he can eat all his daily calories within the period of 2pm – 8pm.
Now, you may be thinking that sounds miserable; waiting until the afternoon to eat your first meal. However, you can adjust the schedule to fit your needs. If you love breakfast and lunch, but can do without dinner, flip the schedule so your eating window is in the morning and afternoon, and stick to tea / water at night. As long as you go about 18 hours straight without eating, you’ll be practicing IF.
I don’t want to sound like I’m pressing this on people or make it sound easier than it is, so let me explain why it works for my specific situation.
I am horrible at controlling my appetite. When I start eating, shortly after getting full I’ll become hungry again. This would be a serious problem if I were eating all throughout the day. So instead, I’ve trained my body to not eat until after my daily run in the afternoon. I sip coffee all morning, and since I almost never eat breakfast my body doesn’t expect it and doesn’t crave it when I wake up. I’m also able to run on an empty stomach without issue, so as long as I can make it to my afternoon run, then I have the rest of the day afterwards to get my calories in. As big as my appetite is, it’s not easy to consume 3,000+ calories (my total daily energy expenditure given my size / gender / activity level) in a small period of time. So I can still have a big dinner, and a big second dinner, and come in right around my caloric goal for the day.
Now, some people say eating many small meals throughout the day is healthier and key to losing weight, others say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The fact is, different eating habits work for different people, and at the end of the day if you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning, you’ll lose weight. Some people like to micromanage exactly what they consume, and that’s great! I wish I could be that scientific about it, but I’m not. I’m a slave to my cravings, and I’ve found that by at least controlling when I allow myself to eat, I’m able to keep how much I eat in check.
What do you guys think about IF? Do you have any experience with it, or do you have another dieting strategy to help you control the runger? Let me know!